Klein, Dinowitz And Koppell Join Together To Protect Woodlawn Firehouses From Closure


Bronx, NY—Joined by community leaders from across the north Bronx, State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) today called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make clear his plans for future firehouse closings in New York City.  Standing in front of the Woodlawn Firehouse, whose un-addressed structural deterioration has led many to believe its closure is imminent, Klein released a study he commissioned that showed response times citywide jumped another 6 seconds last year, after an 11 second increase in 2004 following Mayor Bloomberg’s closing of 6 firehouses. 


4:53 after the loss of the Astoria/Long Island City fire company.  By contrast, in the seven months since the City opened the Rossville Firehouse on Staten Island, response times in that borough are down an average of 8 seconds, compared to a 13-second increase citywide during the same period. 


Senator Klein said. 


Senator Klein continued.  “The neighborhood immediately surrounding the firehouse would suffer dramatic increases in their response times and a smaller, but still substantial, effect would be felt throughout the entire borough as neighboring fire companies would be called on to fill the gap in fire coverage. The geographic isolation of the Woodlawn community would only exacerbate this effect.”


Assemblyman Dinowitz commented: “Safety must come first.  That is why we need to be certain that the Woodlawn Firehouse will continue to serve our community.  Response times are already too high.  Without service from Ladder 39 there could be a significant increase in response time in Woodlawn.  In addition to protecting the Woodlawn community, the firehouse is the closest one to the giant construction site in Van Cortlandt Park of the Croton Water Filtration Plant.  It’s imperative that lives not be jeopardized by a potentially large increase in response time to a disaster there.”


City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell.  “Seconds count when it comes to fire, and there is simply no justification for jeopardizing lives.  The people of Woodlawn have a right to know what the Mayor is planning.” 


Rev. Richard Gorman, Chair of Bronx Community Board #12, also spoke out on behalf of Ladder 39 saying, “If I had a building in that condition, I would be at least planning to renovate it, or ideally to replace it.  The fire department, knowing the building’s condition in the last year, has done neither.”


 Senator Klein along with Assemblyman Dinowitz and City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell released a letter to Mayor Bloomberg detailing these new results and urging him to “come clean” on plans for the Woodlawn firehouse. 


            “Response times are already up across the city, putting millions of New Yorkers at risk.  Closing the Woodlawn firehouse would only exacerbate existing slow response times in the Bronx and across the City,” Klein concluded.


In 2004, in the wake of Mayor Bloomberg’s closure of 6 fire companies, Klein conducted a study on response times that showed a citywide increase of 13 seconds, despite the City’s initial assurance that the closures, which saved the City $6 million, would only result in a one-second increase in response times.  Klein’s 2004 study also found that response times in the six neighborhoods with closures jumped an average of 27 seconds.






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